In 2016 – following community open days, discussions with local residents and online feedback – Councillors confirmed the routes and roads that would be used to develop better biking connections.
The routes in the east, including the coastal route to the city via Evans Bay Parade, are a key part of a planned citywide network and Wellington City’s Cycleways Programme. They were initially mapped out by a community working group that was set up in late 2015.
The cycling programme was independently reviewed by consultants Morrison Low at the request of the NZ Transport Agency last year. Councillors confirmed the revised programme in August.
In December 2016, following last year’s local body elections, the newly-elected Council considered and re-confirmed the cycleways programme. This included all the roads and routes where changes are now being proposed.
Behind it all, are the Government’s and Council’s overall aims to:
give people more transport choice
get more people riding
make bike improvements that can be used by the widest number of people possible
develop a connected city-wide cycle network.
This will make things safer for people who ride now. But it is mainly about the future, and making changes that cater for inexperienced riders and people who don’t have the confidence to ride on our roads the way they are at the moment.
In March 2017, two open days were held at the ASB Sports Centre to gather initial thoughts about these eastern connector roads. Locals identified safety concerns, talked about things they valued, made suggestions, and some registered interest in being part of a community working group.
Key organisations, including business groups and residents associations, were invited to participate, along with a mix of people who had said they were interested.
Participants in the groups had a wide range of different views, hopes and concerns, and a willingness to consider all perspectives and work together to find solutions.
Three community working groups were set up in the east to look at different parts of the network:
In addition, there were community working groups established for Oriental Bay (looking at the narrow section of shared path between Waitangi Park and Freyberg Pool), the central city and Thorndon Quay.
Enterprise Miramar Peninsula worked in a very similar way to the community working groups to take an in-depth look at Miramar Avenue.
The eastern suburbs groups all met at least five times between April and July 2017. During these two to three-hour workshops they worked together to consider the Council and Government’s investment objectives for the funding on offer, developed their own community objectives, and came up with a long-list of possible options.
The number of these varied from project to project – but a large number of possibilities and variations were considered in each area. For both Kilbirnie and Miramar, more than 100 options were explored.
Working group members almost all either lived in the areas they were looking at, or were involved with a local business or group. In addition, each group had a representative from Cycle Aware Wellington and pedestrian advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa.
In each group there were people who own cars and drive, walk, catch public transport and cycle. The groups included people who regularly ride bikes and others who seldom or never ride.
With the help of the transport planners, engineers and urban design consultants employed on each of these projects, the working groups, and Council and NZ Transport Agency staff, a check-list of criteria was developed based on all the objectives.
The long-lists of options were then assessed against the criteria to come up with a short-list of options, which were then further scrutinised.
Working group members spent many hours poring over plans, asking questions, looking at things from a range of different perspectives, debating the pros and cons, grappling with challenges and trade-offs, and whittling down the alternatives to come up with the most practical options to go out to the wider public.
Among other things, the groups talked about parking, the needs of residents and businesses, trees, heritage features, lane widths, safer speeds, painted median strips, driveways, existing safety issues, pedestrian crossings, intersections and bus stops.
As part of improving Miramar town centre, there is an opportunity to connect Miramar Avenue to the rest of a safe cycling network in Miramar and Kilbirnie, and the proposed new walking and biking paths along Cobham Drive.
The Council has been working with Enterprise Miramar Peninsula since 2016 to identify the issues, investigate transport demand, and come up with a short list of options for discussion with the wider community.
The organisation held a series of workshops in late 2016 and 2017, working with transport planners, engineers, urban design consultants and others in a similar way to the community groups.
Enterprise Miramar Peninsula is non-political organisation run by a voluntary executive committee, which is dedicated to furthering economic development for Miramar. It works with and on behalf of local businesses, landlords and the community to enhance prosperity, safety and security in the suburb. It was set up under the Council’s business improvement district (BID) policy to work with the Council on projects like this that benefit the community.